After a busy year, were both ready for this break.

We packed our bags the night before (the Engel fridge had been on for a day to chill down well)  and were ready to go after breakfast.

A quick stop to fill up the fuel tank and we were off to Warwick.

Heading south on the Bruce Highway, we turned off to the D’Aguilar Hwy, through Caboolture, Woodford and on to Esk.  We stopped at Esk for a stretch of the legs and swapped drivers.

With the recent bushfires, there was a lot of smoke haze around Esk, I have downloaded the Australian Bushfire app and am confident that ( at this stage) we are not driving near any major blazes.   Leaving Esk and heading up the range we saw the first signs of the devastation that the fires had brought.    The normal scenery of green Aussie bush was transformed into a black desolate expanse. ☹  We saw farm trucks and tractors completely burnt out in the paddocks where they stood.    Fences along the roadside were reduced to a length of wire strung between intermittent charred remains.

We notice lots of sawn tree stumps on the side of the road where large trees had been felled and we assumed the trees must have been so badly burnt they posed a danger of falling over the highway so were removed. 

This fire would have been the outer edge of the Pechey fires which began over a month ago and raged for many days.   We noticed one very large tree fallen in a paddock and was still smouldering.

Stopping in Toowoomba for lunch, we found the shopping centre where there is an Italian restaurant that we had an Entertainment Book voucher. 
We parked the car and found the entrance to the shops.

What a surprise… at the entrance there was a community library. Somewhere comfortable you could just sit and read.

Piccolo Papa is an unassuming café/bistro in a suburban shopping centre, but WOW the meals were amazing.  We chose two pasta dishes and shared them.  Spaghetti & Meatballs and Garlic Prawn Pasta.   Tiramisu for dessert finished off the meal to perfection.

A short one hour drive through very dry farmland brought us to Warwick.  We found the information centre and got some pamphlets for our forward travels and had a drive around the town.  Unfortunately, it was too hot to get out of the car and do much walking – 38C at 2:30pm, but a drive around showed us what a lovely town Warwick is, with lovely wide streets and sandstone buildings.
A statue of T J Byrnes sits proudly in the centre of the intersection of the two main streets of Warwick.

TJ Byrnes was a Qld Premier in the late 1800’s … read more about him here

I hope Mr Byrnes had a good sense of humour because for now, in Warwick, he has been dressed as Santa ?

We found our AirBnB and checked in around 3:30pm.

“The Cottage” in Warwick is a lovely little 2 bedroom house just outside of the town centre. It had everything we needed for our one night stopover.   The fridge was stocked with bread, butter, jams, eggs and milk.   A good selection of teas and coffees were available on the bench in the kitchen.

We spent the afternoon relaxing in the aircon, and looking over the information I had picked up earlier.

 A fun fact we learnt was that an incident in Warwick was responsible for the formation of the Commonwealth Police Force.  In 1917 Prime Minister Billy Hughes was visiting Warwick spruiking his plan for national conscription.  This was not a popular plan and he was not well received.  One fellow threw an egg at the PM and the local police refused to arrest the man citing that he had not broken any QLD laws. Hughes’ frustration and anger, led him to establish the Commonwealth Police Force.
(The Commonwealth Police Force was amalgamated with the ACT Police and the Narcotics Squad in 1979 after the Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing to form the current Australian Federal Police)

We had a good nights sleep on the comfy queen bed, ready for the next day’s drive to Tamworth.